Sunday, February 10, 2013

January in the Branch House

“And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us,
 new, untouched, full of things that have never been.” 

January was filled with many special blessings.
Becca, Jake (honorary member), Rachael, Mark, Karelin, Steph, and Andrew

My first-born daughter, Steph, came home for a short visit.  We spent some precious family time together for nine days.  We were able to squeeze in a bridal shower, beach days, and take some family pictures.  The next time we see her, we'll be in Portland for her wedding.  The March wedding day is fast approaching and my to-do list is long, but God has paved the way and His hand is on every detail.

The girls, back together before the bridal shower!

Beautiful morning at the beach before heading to the airport. *sniff*

The house continues to be a gathering place for young adults.  Our small group is growing every week and the beds and couches are always full of guests!

"Mama T" and "Mama J" - as we've been named

One of our guests was Danielle Teeter, a sweet woman from Kauai.  She is involved in a new retreat center that plans to run amazing camps and other events through the summer for teens.  She invited us to come over in May for a worship retreat.  So excited!  I know God has big plans for this special place, and is doing an amazing work through her ministry.  It is such a blessing to meet other like-minded people who love Jesus and are living all-out for Him. I loved hearing about her family. We have a lot in common.  It was great to meet a new friend.  She was just here overnight, but in the morning we took a fun hike up to the Lanikai Pillboxes.  We both think each other's island is the prettiest...
new sleeping loft

The community is growing closer every day.  We were able to build a sleeping loft in the studio to give Morgan and Tasha more private space.  We spent Superbowl Sunday (which was Morgan's birthday) together, projecting he game on the wall.  So much fun!

Building crew after a day's work

Football! (Note: people in photo are more excited than they appear.)

Training has begun for our fundraising half marathon and relay run.  The Kailua Nazarene Church will be going on a mission trip to Peru in July.  It's an expensive trip, so funds must be raised.  Mark and a few others will be running the 13.1 miles, and we are putting together several relay teams to share the miles.  Community racing!  I will share more about the trip as the details are available.

Yesterday, the gang took a quick hike up to the Pali lookout.  Up the ridge, there is a spot we call the Pali Puka (hole) where you can see through the mountain face.  It's a pretty scary hike (so I stayed home...) but they say the view is worth it.  Maybe I'll get the nerve to go the next time.

The girls on the way up!

Yeah, this is why I stayed home!

View from the top - that's the Pali Highway. See the dirt path on the edge?

The peak of the Pali

The Puka!

The famous Pali hair shot!

As I start this new year, I think a word that has been planted in my heart is hope.  Hope is the expectation of good.  I don't now exactly what will happen, but I know that my God is good, and His plan is good.  I heard a message by Kris Vallotton of Bethel Church recently say, "Faith sees, hope feels, and love never fails."  I love that.  Faith sees what will be before it is.  Hope feels expectation for good before it is known.  Love never fails even when it is not deserved.  He went on to say, "Hope gets you off the couch and onto the porch..."  That is so true.  We must live with an expectation of good in order to move on to a life of faith.  I can't see what God is doing yet, I just know He is always working for my good.  That is hope.  I've just begun to explore what this will mean for our year, but I know I wont be disappointed.

View from the Lanikai Pillboxes -  Yes, I did take this one!

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully 
look forward to sharing God’s glory.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our 
confident hope of salvation.  
And this hope will not lead to disappointment. 
For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Romans 5:1-5 NLT

My prayer for you is that you be filled with hope in 2013!  You wont be disappointed when your hope is in Jesus!